The end of the year is near and fireworks seem to be the trademark that marks its closure. Humans can enjoy its colorful spectacle, even its loud sounds, but the experience is not the same for animals.
Do you know what you do to animals every time you light a firework? Not only does terror take over their body, it is also altered in different ways.
Animals may suffer from tachycardia, shortness of breath, tremors, lightheadedness, nausea, loss of control and even death.
Dogs and cats have a much more sensitive auditory sense than we humans have. They live a much more intense experience with strong bursts: they have an increase in stress hormones, increased heart rate and adrenaline rush. Fear usually causes them to go out for shelter, they may not know their way back home or they can have an accident on the streets.
As for the rest of the animals, the explosions can cause fatal tachycardia in birds or they may abandon their nests where their chicks will starve to death. The pyrotechnic waste can poison the curious beings who come to ingest them, not to mention what can happen if someone hits them in the face.
The firecrackers’ bodies, the plastics of the balloons that people release at midnight along with their wishes, the fire of the Chinese lanterns, and so on, do their part in the terrible consequences of these celebrations.
“The sodium perchlorate that triggers pyrotechnics near water bodies, increases to around a thousand times its normal levels. In consequence it damages microorganisms and aquatic fauna” (www.gob.mx).
Other traditions, such as releasing helium balloons to carry our New Year’s wishes result in waste that animals confuse as food or waste that can become entangled in their limbs, injuring them or finally cutting off blood circulation.
HOW TO HELP ANIMALS
Prevention is the best tool to help your pets. What you can do is:
- Get them used to the sounds. Get a recording of these noises and click “play.” Gradually turn up the volume to make it more like reality and then give them a treat or take a walk to associate it with something positive.
- You can isolate them in a place where the sound is not so loud and where you know they cannot escape.
- Transmit calmness. They are attentive to what you do or how you feel. If you are calm, this will reassure them.
- Create places to hide, so they feel safe. You can put your favorite toys in these places so they can find them.
- Take them for a walk half an hour before the explosions begin.
- Apply pressure bandages in the form of 8 around their body, feeling hugged or having a physical contact will calm them.
- In extreme cases it is better to speak with the veterinarian to recommend a sedative.
- For other animals, leave water outside, many animals flee desperately and then need to hydrate.
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